I don’t see anything wrong with going out after a long week or day and having a drink or two. And I certainly don’t see anything wrong with having a caffeinated beverage. Both alcohol and caffeine, in moderation, are fine. It’s when you combine the two that a problem develops. The most recent trend in drinking is the consumption of caffeine-laced, alcoholic beverages. Giving partiers a double buzz, drinks, including Red Bull and vodka, Bud Extra and Tilt, are being ordered more and more at the bar. And the manufacturers would like to keep it that way. They market their products with slogans like “You can sleep when you’re 30,” “Get your 3rd, 4th and 5th winds” and “Fun doesn’t punch the clock.” The ads encourage drinking more, staying out late and combining two very potent drugs.
By itself, caffeine, consumed in excess, can pose health risks. It’s been shown to increase blood pressure, impair blood flow and trigger abnormal heart rhythms. While the first is the most commonly seen, all can and do occur, potentially leading to even more serious complications. When you add alcohol to the mix, the dangers reach another level. After drinking an energy drink or a highly-caffeinated beverage, your heart rate accelerates and you feel a heightened sense of alertness. After drinking alcohol, your heart rate accelerates and your ability to perform certain tasks, such as driving, deteriorates, quickly. Combine the two, and you’ve got a racing heart along with a false sense of confidence regarding what you can and cannot do. Essentially, the caffeine masks the fact that you are drunk. You are more likely to get behind the wheel, continue drinking and make other dangerous decisions.
Already, the number of deaths caused by alcohol-related injuries and alcohol consumption is in the thousands. How much more will it increase when the drinkers are even less aware of the mistakes they’re making?